Steve Benz was recently honored by Centerville, Iowa Jackson Masonic Lodge No. 42 by being chosen as the 2012-2013 Teacher of the Year during the teachers back-to-school meeting at Simon Estes Auditorium just before school began.
Both Steve and his wife, Jennifer Benz teach at Centerville High School. Jennifer teaches language arts while Steve teaches drafting and building trades. Jennifer is also a previous recipient of the award.
"I was surprised and very honored," said Benz. "To be recognized for your job. I was very touched."
Although he is just beginning his 11th year teaching at Centerville High School, Benz came into teaching later in life.
"I was like any high school kid, ready to get out," Benz said.
After graduating from Centerville High School, Benz attended Iowa State University and received a degree in dairy science. He then farmed from six to seven years while working different jobs at the same time, but nothing that he considered a career.
His wife had talked to him a few times about becoming a teacher and Benz said when he was in high school, his industrial tech teacher, Clint Smith, had also suggested he should become an industrial tech teacher.
Benz said after he burned his eyes while welding and was laid up, his wife gave him the contact information for the head of industrial tech at William Penn University. He called and was invited for a visit. He ended up getting along so well during the visit that he signed up for the program that same day.
He receive his degree in industrial technology and teaching certificate at William Penn University and and was then hired at Centerville High School. Benz said teaching is a balancing act and every day is different because you are dealing with other people and their personalities. He said it is unlike any job he had before he began teaching.